AJ & CI Snell, who own Windmill Hill Fruits are OTB member of the month for championing the British organic blackcurrant.
Anthony Snell started growing organic blackcurrants on the farm in Herefordshire due to the clear market potential and sustainable nature of the production. The first harvest from blackcurrants come three years after being planted and the season is just a few weeks from the end of July into early August. The short harvest season is overcome by freezing the berries.
The company won Horticulture Week’s Soft Fruit Grower of the Year and Edible Grower of the Year Awards in 2016. The latter is awarded to the top UK grower selected from all the Edible Crop Winners of the Year Awards.
Blackcurrants fit the bill in health terms, with high levels of antioxidants including anthocyanins (the same antioxidant found in blueberries) as well as high levels of vitamins C and B2, iron, B2 and selenium. Conversely, they are low in sugar, which makes them a great addition to smoothies. You can find research on the health benefits of blackcurrants and further information on the Blackcurrant Foundation website.
The farm takes their environmentally responsibility very seriously and run a ‘integrated pest management’ system on conventionally grown crops (more information can be found on the company website, here).
It is also in the process of converting an area of Redcurrants to organic production and is continually looking at the potential to convert other fruits.
They supply their organic blackcurrants to Yeo Valley for their yogurts, Duchy Organic frozen blackcurrants and jam makers. As well as juice for Rocks Cordials, who recently won an award at the International Blackcurrant conference in Angers, France.
The company sells their organic blackcurrants in bulk through The British Frozen Fruits online shop. Where the frozen fruit are packed with dry ice and delivered direct to consumers front door.
The farm also supplies independent stores and farm shops. They use a range of distributors (including Suma and Stratford Fine Foods) to supply independent retailers including As Nature Intended and Wholefoods. To find out more go to windmillhillfruits.co.uk.
The company has joined the OTB members discount club and is offering 20% off their first order of blackcurrants on The British Frozen Fruits online shop. OTB members can access details on the members area of the OTB website. Email Annie for details.